Wednesday, June 1

Media double-standard: Weiner edition

I'm fascinated by the way people decide what they believe is true.

This decision is rarely a careful, rational one. Rather, people seem to make up their minds on the spot, largely due to things they've heard, seen on television or read. And there's little doubt that most people are immensely affected by headlines that "spin" a story a certain way.

Take the case of New York congressman Anthony Weiner--a former staffer to Senator Chuck Schumer, a rising star in the Democratic party, and married to a top aide to Hillary Clinton.

Stop here for a moment: Have you heard anything about the guy? If so, what do you think you know about the story?

Here's the story in brief: A critic of Weiner--who watches the congresscritter's tweets closely--posted a photo he said appeared on Weiner's twitter "feed." The photo--which was removed from twitter in a matter of minutes--showed a male in jockey briefs, seemingly in an aroused state.

The photo was allegedly meant for a coed at a college in Washington state. Said coed and Weiner had "followed" each other on twitter, which is a friend-like category that would allow them to exchange private messages, as opposed to the more common public ones.

The congressman then "tweeted" to all his followers that his account had been hacked. If you're not fluent in geekspeak, that would require someone to access his account without his permission, and would imply that the photo is of someone other than Weiner.

Within 24 hours Weiner changed his story from "My account was hacked"--a serious crime that would certainly merit investigation--to "This was a prank by a political opponent." A day later Weiner had downgraded the incident even further, describing it as "a distraction" from the serious issues facing congress.

Tellingly, when asked point-blank by a CNN interviewer whether he sent the pic, and whether the pic was of himself, he repeatedly declined to answer, instead replying with a Clintonesque series of evasions.

At this point it should be obvious that the guy did indeed send the pic to the coed. Folks with Twitter experience (I don't use it) think he intended the pic to be sent as a private message to the coed, but accidentally used the more familiar command that sent it to everyone on his list of followers.

With the foregoing in mind, read how internet giant Yahoo spun the story: It made it the last of three examples of alleged hacking--the first two of which were genuine. Clever, huh?
Lastly, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter account was hacked. A fake lewd photo of the politician was tweeted to one of his followers and quickly spread throughout Twitter. Weiner is considering legal action against the culprit.
This article is dated last night, so the leftists at Yahoo had access to all the information noted above the quote. But instead of noting the two competing possibilities, the writer at Yahoo used only strong exculpatory statements: "Weiner's Twitter account was hacked"; before the word "photo" is even mentioned, it's preceded by the dismissive term "a fake." The person for whom the pic was intended is described simply as "one of his followers," conveniently omitting the fact that she was a 21-year-old who seems to be well above average in appearance.

This isn't reporting, it's a public-relations defense.

Now, after Slick Willy's dalliance with Monica, a married pol sending a comely 21-year-old an underwear photo is pretty tame stuff. But obviously the fact that Weiner is married makes the act a significant political liability in the next election. I guess this is why virtually every leftist media outlet has practically tied itself in knots trying to dismiss the incident in one way or another.

The problem--as Weiner's Clintonesque interview showed--is that there are so many known facts that are inconsistent with any of the various convoluted explanations under which Weiner theoretically didn't send the pic.

Despite the fact that none of the various exculpatory theories by the Left is consistent with the known facts, I predict the left-supporting media will continue to spin this to preserve the viability of one of their rising stars.

Exit question: What do you suppose their response would have been if the congresscritter had been a Republican--or worse yet, a [gasp!] conservative?

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